The first of Britain’s new supersonic ‘stealth’ strike fighters has touched down in the UK for the first time. The F-35B Lightning II jet was flown from US on its first transatlantic crossing, accompanied by two United States Marine Corps F-35B aircraft.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The F-35Bs are the most advanced fast jets in the world. Whether operating from land or from one of our two new aircraft carriers, they will ensure we have a formidable fighting force.”

Air Commodore Harv Smyth, Lightning Force Commander, added: “Operating from land bases or our new aircraft carriers, the F35B Lightning will provide ‘next generation’ advanced sensor capabilities which, when combined with its low observable, ‘stealthy’ design, allow the pilot to see more, know more and act faster than the enemy.”

The combined US/UK team of aircrew and engineers are in the UK to demonstrate just what the 5th generation state of the art aircraft can do, flying at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough International Air Show over the next few weeks. The aircraft are due to enter service with the Royal Navy and RAF from 2018.